Getting Old, Getting Failure-Smarts (Rohr)

Early in life, you figure out what you want to do in large-part by what you’re good at. 

If interest leads to success, your interest is shaped by the natural and positive feedback you find. 

It’s a big part of why we want to encourage kids to have interests. Just don’t be bored. Go out, do something fun (and not self-destructive) and, “how cool is that?!”

But then we get older. 

And our interests and successes are still great, but continued growth requires different forms of novelty seeking. We’ve got new ways to grow as we get older. 

This Richard Rohr quote has been in my mind lately,

A person learns via their success through their first thirty years or so. After that, a person learns through their mistakes, their failures, their humiliations, their vulnerability.

It feels like every case of adult arrested development I’ve run into (including my own) is related to not learning from mistakes, failures, humiliations, or vulnerabilities. We stunt our growth when we only see the mistakes, failures, humiliations, and vulnerabilities of others. 

We’re full of them too. 

If the first part of life is dominated by our external journey, where we try to figure out how we fit into the world, the second part of life is definitely dominated by our internal journey, where we try to figure out how to fit the world into our hearts, minds, and soul.